|photo property of Jim Ward|
Selection & Culling
Written by Tacey Perkins and Robert Blosl
Welcome to Part 1 of this wonderful course, today we will cover Selection and Culling. The reason I chose these topics to start on is to get everyone on the same page for next month’s Breeding class. I am so thrilled to offer this information to you. I wanted to be able to offer you some invaluable information that you could use year after year to improve your Java
Flock. So I contacted one of the best! A man who has been known in the chicken breeding industry for his RIR Bantams. He is also into other heritage breeds like, White Plymouth Rocks in large fowl & bantams and Barred Plymouth Rock large fowl. It is Mr. Robert Blosl! I for one was excited to ask these questions and get the answers, because Mr. Robert Blosl is a pleasure to talk to and a wealth of information. So please enjoy Part 1 explaining Selection and Culling. We will cover from chick stage to adult stage. Also, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me. I would be happy
to help you with anything I can. And for a special treat, Robert has said he will help evaluate your birds, helping with the selection process. All you need to provide are some nice, clear pictures of your birds. He will do the rest. And if you would like to ask a specific question, just send it to me and we will get it answered for next month’s class. Thank you everyone for coming to class, lets begin!
How many chicks would you suggest them getting in order to grow up a
breeding trio or two.
Bob- If you got two dozen eggs you should get a trio or maybe two pair that would be great breeders for the following year. You want to make sure the birds you breed from are above average in quality. It is foolish to breed from a marginal female just to have numbers. I like trio mating so if I had two
very good females I would try to get between 25 to 35 chicks from this
Also would you suggest getting chicks from 2 different sources so you are
not breeding brother to sister?
Bob-If I knew the breeder who I am getting a start from, and he has a good gene pool of above average birds, I would like to stay with this breeder. One reason is you could work hard to improve what you have from him and then possibly get a good male or female from him or her a few years down the road for fresh blood. When you cross strains you are asking for a big mixture of genes and it will take anywhere from three to five years to level off all the non-expectable genes from the cross. If the birds that you are getting are
below average in appearance and possibly inbred, some say yes, you could cross a strain from someone in California with somebody from say New Jersey. A better idea is to find a person who lives maybe a thousand miles apart from each other, but both are from the same master breeders strain.
Yellow house farm from BYC wrote and asked...
What do you think is the minimum stock required to begin this plan? If one’s plan is to maintain 4 pens, how does one build up to four pens if one doesn’t begin with four separate breeding groups?
Bob-I have a breeding pen of a white rock pullet, which is the best type female I have seen in years. I have her and her mother in a breeding pen. That’s two females. I have her mated to a young cockerel and then when it warms up I am putting in the cockerals father a cock bird and he has type that won’t quit. So I plan to hatch about 25 to 30 chicks from this pair. I have two
other females that are ok but nothing like these two queens. I will then put together a family of two from this matting. I will only have two trios per year and breed them and raise about 50 chicks cull very hard and only keep the females and males that have the type that I am looking for. My goal is to get more pullets like the little girl I hatched and raised this year. I hope in two to three years all my females will have the low top line and lift like she has.
Culling- Once you have chicks, when do you cull for that first year? Do
you have a culling schedule, like at 1month, 3 month, etc? And what exactly are you looking for at these specific culls?
Bob-First month you cull for weaklings and chicks with physical defects then in the second month you look for chicks that are slow to mature or feather, they again may have defects in their feet like crooked toes, too many points on their combs- more than seven, and if they just do not look like they are keeping up with the other more vigorous chicks. At three months they have their legs dead center, they have extreme vigor they are feathering at a fast rate, color is not a issue until these birds get up to five to seven months of age. By the time they are five to seven months of age you should be able to see who are the better birds to keep and many times the ones that jump out
in the front are the best chicks of the year that you hatch. So once you have culled down to the last several choices. Pick the ones that BEST represent the SOP AND THE BREED.
Raising- How do you usually raise up your stock? Do you put them
all in a single pen or do you separate pullets and cockerels? Do you have
any tips of the trade on raising large heritage fowl?
Bob-The first two to three weeks I have them in good size brooder boxes watching for the fast feathering tail feathers coming out of the chicks tail and
their wing development in the first ten days to two weeks. If you see
something that does not please you, you can put a magic marker mark on their head to I. D. them and when they are about three to four weeks old they are ready to go into a brooder pen where you may have twenty chicks in say a 8x8 foot pen for lots of room to grow in. As soon as the chicks start to show
the combs on the cockerels, you separate the little males from the females so
the males will not bully the young females. I give them a good 20% game bird developer feed, fresh water which I use dripping water from a faucet during the hot months so the chicks have fresh cool water daily, if I have a safe environment I love to let the chicks roam on free range where they can get fresh grass and bugs with their normal chick starter during their growth
Incubating and hatching-
I know you will touch on this in next month’s Breeding Javas 101 section article , but just wanted to know if there was anything else you want people to know about Incubation and Hatching?
Bob- When it comes to incubation, the egg has to be super clean and
free from stains of manure and moisture and from getting wet. Having nest boxes that are above the ground with straw or saw dust or pine straw so when you collect the egg it looks like it came from the grocery store. They will
hatch so much better and the chicks will be healthier. Also, do not keep eggs
more than five to seven days. You may want to put your eggs in the incubator on Sunday so they will hatch on Sunday when you are home and can care for the chicks. Make sure the chicks stay in the Hatcher for 24 to 30 hours as there is no rush to get them out. They can live on their own yokes for 36 hours and its best not to give these chicks anything to eat until the yokes are absorbed into their systems. As this can cause digestive disorders and pasty butts in days to come. These chicks normally do not mature to be your best chicks and it’s your fault for forcing them to eat too soon after hatching.
Yes, there is homework, but this is nothing like you remembered. It is chicken homework! Ok so I need to prepare you for next month. Robert is going to cover Breeding pens and how to set them up, how to use them, etc. So GOOGLE what breeding pens look like. You will have 1 month to make them and prepare your stock for the breeding portion of this class, the real meat and potatoes. So here is your homework.
~Robert is going to refer to the Standard of Perfection in next month’s class. It would be good to look it up ahead of time and familiarize yourself with your breed. If you have a Java, we have the SOP right on our website. You can read it there and make a copy for yourself. Be sure to get the picture too!
~Also, it would be good to start figuring out what your breeding pens will consist of. 3-4 smaller pens, and depending on how many hens you have, will depend on how big the pens will have to be. If you have 1-2 hens per pen, it will not need to be large to accommodate 2 hens, a nest box and a rooster. Remember they only have to be in these for as long as you are
collecting eggs to hatch. After that they can go back into the large community coop. So google/surf the Internet for pictures on breeding pens. And if you already have some I would love to post some pictures of your breeding pens. So send them in for all of us to see. Thank you all again for coming to class, we will see you next month for PART 2- Breeding Pens & Breeding Method. We will see you in the poultry press again next month. And a big thanks to our Professor Robert Blosl!
~ Tacey Perkins V.P. Java Breeders of America, You can submit pictures for evaluation or questions for next months breeding class to...firstname.lastname@example.org